The Shift In Thinking


The new business management model requires a dramatic shift in thinking among senior executives who resist a systems view of their organizations. This new paradigm is the reason leaders talk about taking a "leap of faith" when they embrace its principles.



  • You lead the quality improvement process. No one else in the organi-zation can lead it as effectively.
  • You are a quality zealot. The leaders introduced throughout this book do not lead the improvement effort by spending ali their time on fi-nancial matters; they walk, talk, and think quality.
  • You understand your customers' needs and expectations. Because quality is defined by the customers, you need to spend time with them and compare what you learn with what others in your company know about them and about your markets. Only then will you know whether your system is truly being driven by customers' needs and expectations.
  • You empower everyone in the company to meet customers' needs and expectations. You get ali employees involved in improving quality and customer satisfaction. You promote training so that they can achieve their objectives. You establish rewards and recognition that encourage employees to work together toward common goals. You create a cul­ture in which every person is considered a valuable resource and em-ployee satisfaction is seen as an indicator of customer satisfaction.
  • You manage by studying facts. If you think of your business system as a car, you have within view ali the gauges and indicators you need to assess the condition of the system and to decide what to do next.
  • You promote process improvement. If you were to step back and ob-serve any part of your company for any period of time, you would no-tice that work follows different processes. The better you manage those processes, the more productive people are and the higlıer their quality of work is. You can help your company focus on process im­provement by studying the processes you are involved in.
  • You use the strategic planning process to keep the company focused. Quality leaders establish clear missions, goals, and objectives for their organizations, then use the planning process to translate corporate objectives into team and individual actions.
  • You demand rapid, continuous improvement. A business exists to meet customer requirements and to achieve superior operational per-formance. By setting ambitious goals for each purpose, you challenge people to change and improve, to channel their energy, knowledge, and determination toward a shared vision.
  • Leaders such as Ray Marlow, Jamie Houghton, Roger Ackerman, and Fred Smith run their companies according to this new paradigm. As the re­sults of Marîow Industries, Corning, and FedEx demonstrate, such a Sys­tems approach to leadership results in profitable, successful organizations.